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Wintering a weak hive

 
John Merrifield
Posts: 92
Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
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We just started keeping honeybees this spring in 8 frame medium Langstroth boxes and going into winter one of our two hives is severly underpopulated in comparison with the other. My concern is will there be enough bees to make it through the West Virginia winter and is there anything I might do to insulate the hive?
I've considered placing an empty hivebody above the inner cover and filling it with wood shavings or some other material. Any advice would be appreciated.
John
 
Justin Deri
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Location: North Yarmouth, ME
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- Wrap it in tar paper or black house wrap, though I've heard this can cause moisture issues
- some people put insulated board on top inside the cover
- feed them 2:1 sugar syrup or fondant

I am looking forward to hearing what others say.

John Merrifield wrote:We just started keeping honeybees this spring in 8 frame medium Langstroth boxes and going into winter one of our two hives is severly underpopulated in comparison with the other. My concern is will there be enough bees to make it through the West Virginia winter and is there anything I might do to insulate the hive?
I've considered placing an empty hivebody above the inner cover and filling it with wood shavings or some other material. Any advice would be appreciated.
John
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Hmm, a warre quilt for a langstroth. I like the idea. It really does seem to help regulate moisture in the hive.

I am a noob as well, first winter with warre hives, similar problem. One hive seems much weaker than the rest, and none make me feel "comfortable"

I have gotten lots of contrary advice, but the one consistent bit:

DON'T OPEN THE HIVE WHEN IT IS COLD!!!

At least 50 degrees and at least a couple hours of strong sun exposure after you close it to heat it back up.


 
David Livingston
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You never can tell whats going on in the hive . Some people have very small hives survive while big hives fail .
If every hive survived every year then in a hundred years time we would be up to our necks in bees !
Bees are I think the most wild of animals we as humans keep . You cannot train them you can feed them and house them only and if they want they can bugger off.
I would protect while you can from snow and cold but I agree its too late to open them up . Wrap them up and hope . Maybe make a hackle

David
 
John Merrifield
Posts: 92
Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
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Hmm, a warre quilt for a langstroth. I like the idea. It really does seem to help regulate moisture in the hive.

-R Scott

R,
I'm not familiar with the components of a warre hive. What is a warre quilt?

I would protect while you can from snow and cold but I agree its too late to open them up . Wrap them up and hope . Maybe make a hackle

David

David,
What do you mean when you say hackle?
Thanks all,
John
 
Justin Deri
Posts: 79
Location: North Yarmouth, ME
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Hackle, this article shows a picture of one: http://comestepbackintime.wordpress.com/tag/bee-hackles/ but it's basically a covering for the old style hives that look likes inverted baskets. It's basically a straw tee-pee.

Warre is a type of hive: http://thebeespace.net/warre-hive/ and the quilt is a shallow box with cloth on one side to allow the hive to "breath". I don't know much about it, but I think the idea is you can put straw or wood shaving in that box/quilt and insulate the top of the hive. I like the idea. I may just take one of my shallow boxes and do it.

John Merrifield wrote:
Hmm, a warre quilt for a langstroth. I like the idea. It really does seem to help regulate moisture in the hive.

-R Scott

I'm not familiar with the components of a warre hive. What is a warre quilt?


What do you mean when you say hackle?
Thanks all,
John
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yup, the quilt is a shallow box on top of the hive filled with 3 inches or so of wood shavings. The roof above that is rain proof but vented, FAR from airtight. It will absorb moisture and let the hive breathe, but maintain warmth. You use burlap soak in flour paste as the bottom to hold the shavings in, the flour prevents them from eating through it. They will glue the holes shut to seal it down when it is cold and regulate their own temperature.

 
John Merrifield
Posts: 92
Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
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We had a warm spell just before Christmas. Temperatures reached 60 degrees F. four days in a row. I went ahead and dumped 3 or 4 inches of cedar shavings in an empty hive body sitting on top of an inner cover. I hope it works.
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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John Merrifield wrote:We had a warm spell just before Christmas. Temperatures reached 60 degrees F. four days in a row. I went ahead and dumped 3 or 4 inches of cedar shavings in an empty hive body sitting on top of an inner cover. I hope it works.


apart from the minor mess you'll have when you want to remove it, I think you'll be in good shape.
 
Martin Miljkovic
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Hi,
the main problem of small amount of bees in the hive during the winter is well their number. What I mean by this ?
I mean that they tend to eat same amount of food during the winter as more populated ones. That is because their clusters are smaller
and they need to keep their-selves warm. Here in our parts we prevent starvation by giving them sugar-honey patties.
Also hoping for the best. Placing something to warm them up like 1 news papers (20 pages) when they start the brood (here it is February usually, but this year is warm so they have brood for last 10 days which means that they needed now warming material). Allowing some air flow is a good thing.

The topic goes on and on on this one, but I gave you the main pointers on it. Ah yes open them to give them patties when it is 10C and more.
 
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